What’s Nature Worth?
Narrative Expressions of Environmental Values
Edited by Terre Satterfield and Scott Slovic
Nature and Environment
Based on either written or oral interviews with a dozen prominent environmental writers, What’s Nature Worth? explores how the art of storytelling might bring new perspectives and insights to economic and policy discussions regarding the "value" of nature and the environment. The diverse points of view explored, and the writers’ insistence on careful interpretation, demonstrate that environmental values are complex, rich, and deeply felt—far more so than mainstream economic methodology would have us believe. There is general consensus among the contributors that the narrative form allows for an exploration of the richness of what it means to "value" nature without being preachy or didactic. Following interviews with the twelve authors, examples of their work demonstrate how indirect expressions of value, in the words of Allison Hawthorne Deming, have an "emotional hue" that can replenish the energy depleted by the coldness of cost-benefit arguments.
Terre Satterfield is assistant professor of culture, risk, and the environment at the University of British Columbia and formerly a research scientist with Decision Research in Eugene, Oregon. She is the author of The Anatomy of a Conflict: Identity, Knowledge, and Emotion in Old Growth Forests. She lives in Vancouver.
Scott Slovic is professor of literature and environment at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of Seeking Awareness in American Nature Writing (University of Utah Press, 1992).
Bruce Berger; John Daniel; Alison Hawthorne Deming; William Kittredge; Gregory McNamee; Gary Paul Nabhan; Simon J. Ortiz; Robert Michael Pyle; Richard Shelton; Stephen Trimble; Terry Tempest Williams; Ofelia Zepeda
Table of Contents:
Introduction: What's Nature Worth?
1. Inciting Story: Narrative as the Mirror of Audience Values
Questionnaire Responses from William Kittredge
Excerpt from Who Owns the West? | A Saving Light
2. Advice and Counsel: Respecting the Sources of Wisdom
A Conversation with Simon J. Ortiz
Men on the Moon | Yuusthiwa
3. Where the Power Lies: Seeking the Intuitive Language of Story
A Conversation with Terry Tempest Williams
State Before the Senate Subcommittee on Forest & Public Lands Management Regarding the Utah Public Lands Management Act of 1995, Washington, D.C., 13 July 1995 | Bloodlines
4. Beyond Here Lies Only Dragons: Thoughts on Wild Places and Vigorous Language
A Conversation with Gregory McNamee
A Review of Consuming Desires: Consumption, Culture, and the Pursuit of Happiness | Yaak and the Unknowable World
5. Story as Common Ground
A Conversation with Alison Hawthorne Deming
Getting Beyond Elegy: Nature, Culture, and Art | Excerpts from The Monarchs
6. Making Stories out of Everything: Valuing the Ordinary
A Conversation with Ofelia Zepeda
B 'o e-a:g Mas 'ab Him g Ju:ki |It is Going to Rain | Kitchen Sink | Land for Moisturizer
7. The Building Blocks of Storied Expression: Advice from a Teacher of Writing
Questionnaire Responses from Richard Shelton
Requiem for Sonora | Sonora for Sale
8. From Image to Event: Considering the Relations between Poetry and Prose as Conveyors of Environmental Values
A Conversation with John Daniel
Remembering the Sacred Family | Ourselves
9. Photo and Word: The Power of Suggestion in Visual and Verbal "Language"
A Conversation with Stephen Trimble
A Wilderness Photographer in Marlboro Country | Excerpt from The Sagebrush Ocean
10. Packing Information in the Form of Story: Viewing Narrative from the Perspective of Science
A Conversation with Robert Michael Pyle
The Extinction of Experience | Spark-Infested Waters
11. Telling It Slant: The Value of Narrative Indirection
Questionnaire Responses from Bruce Berger
Heat | The Mysterious Brotherhood
12. Thriving on Ambiguity: Latency, Indirection, and Narrative
A Conversation with Gary Paul Nabhan
Hornworm's Home Ground: Conserving Interactions
13. A Concluding Conversation
About the Editors
Praise and Reviews:
"What an original, brilliant, and simple idea! Satterfield and Slovic interview environmental writers about values, ethics, and narrative expression. By allowing the voices of the writers to emerge, this book shows how environmental literature can inform, indeed, transform environmental values discourse."
—Mitchell Thomashow, author of Bringing the Biosphere Home
"A fascinating collection of interviews and essays that examine how contemporary writers seek to express the inexpressible, to convey the values in nature ‘as yet uncaptured by language,’ as Aldo Leopold once put it. Whether and how this mode of expression can inform public policy debates, as well as transform individual consciousness, is the subject of this innovative, interdisciplinary, and ultimately invaluable book."
—Daniel J. Philippon, author of Conserving Words: How American Nature Writers Shaped the Environmental Movement
"Ambitious, groundbreaking....What’s Nature Worth? will broaden and deepen the ways in which social and policy scientists think about and measure environmental values. It will bring the ways researchers deal with values more in line with the way people deal with values in their everyday lives."
—Timothy Earle, Western Washington University